tv Today in Washington CSPAN June 22, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EDT
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> cropp next, a discussion on mobilizing young voters -- up next, a discussion on mobilizing young voters in the 2010 election. later, secretary of the treasury tim geithner will be on capitol hill this morning to testify about the troubled asset relief program known as tarp. live coverage at 10:00 eastern. >> based on what you've read and heard and what your questions and answers are, you don't deserve to be in the senate judiciary committee. >> as senators prepare for elena kagan's confirmation hearing, look back of the supreme court
decisions. you can check error cspan video library. >> now the former obama campaign secretary steve hildebrandt about mobilizing young voters in 2010 and includes a former strategist for republican senator scott brown. the center for american progress hosts this event. this is almost one hour. >> the moderator for the panel is erica williams. she is the deputy director of progress 2050 and serves as the senior adviser to campus progress. i will turn it over to erica. >> welcome everyone. we are a very, very large generation. these are people born after 1982. we are predicted to make up
nearly 20% of the american electorate. that is pretty big. the project that i worked on now focus is on our increasingly diverse america. this is predicted to be a minority/majority population. we are progressive but not politically or ideologically monolithic. conventional wisdom says that we young voters are elusive. many people in this room can spend it the entirety of today hearing from experts talking to young people and trying to figure out what is the mystery about engaging young voters and hopefully, you ever heard it is not a mystery but is part art, science, style, substance, and we saw that never before in a way in 2008 when there was a
record turnout from young voters, nearly 51%, about 22 million young people turned out in the election. because of that, there is increased attention as to what will turn out for the midterm election 2010. midterms are not like 2008. we are basing what thmedia is saying about a record turnout. midterms are traditionally low reported young voters faced barriers. 34% of millennials will have moat in 2008. we are a mobile group. the nearly 10 million eligible voters will have turned 18 2008 cent and by 2010. young voters are an important but in a voting bloc and it is important to focus on how we can engage them. yesterday, there was a front-
page story that focused on increasing investment on the parts of democrats to engage young voters. to is a hot topic on both sides of the aisle. i want to pick the brains of our two wonderful panelists about how we can do that. i have steve palle the brand who served as barack obama's -- i have steep hildebrand who served as barack obama as strategist. he was at the forefront of all strategic decisions and helped crack the campaign. to my left, i have robert willington. he was a political strategist for the scott brown campaign in massachusetts. he was executive director of the massachusetts republican party where he expanded the gop. i want to thank you both for being here.
let me start with a softball question. what have you all found is the key or silver bullet to engaging young voters? >> we have to listen to young voters. the candidates to understand the needs and wishes and desires of young of voters3 . young voters are paying more attention to the nuts and bolts details of these campaigns than most of the other voters. you cannot bs them. that is a critical thing. politicians?kc, especially bely politicians, tend to be full of
political rhetoric that they live and breed here in washington, d.c. if they use that rhetoric and continued to espouse what the talk is here in d.c., they will perform pretty poorly against a challenger or someone who does a much better job of connecting and understanding the needs and wishes of young voters. understanding and listening to young voters and what they need is really key. >> let me ask you the same question. >> there is no silver bullet in campaigns. there is never one thing that does the track. --trick. the high-bs factor that young voters have is absolutely true.
they grow and a world where tb is big. they grew up in a tv culture were looking at reality or seeing things that are not scripted is the real thing. when you translate that into the political world, and the campaiin that is more open and direct and honest or at least lets you inside to know the candidates personally will have a better engagement and better penetration with young voters because they look at that as genuine. authenticity is critical for young voters. >> you talked about candidates that will listen to young voters, not having been inside the beltway language, being open, direct, and honest. is that unique among but -- among young voters?
>> my sense is that the older voter is used to political rhetoric. they have had for decades. young voters because of the information age and technology and because of video more than anything else, you cannot hide stuff. young voters are much, much more prone to research something. i cannot have a staff meeting in my little firm without mike young staff -- without my young staff who go to google to look at something while we are having a discussion many times throughout the meeting. it is a situation where you grew up with the internet. voters older than you grew up without it.
they are not quite there. every year increases in terms of the importance of shooting straight. if candidates don't get that, they will lose. young voters will pull away if it is a bunch of political rhetoric and not based on the facts. >> the difference happened with with the videos -- with web videos. it is very fast paced. it is almost like a music video. video is a powerful way of communicating on-line political campaigns to young voters because they are on google during your meetings and their attention span is extremely short. the more creative you are, the more likely you will break
through all the noise that is out there to get to the young voters. young voters go to your web site and they will be there for five seconds and they will fly all round. do something unique and creative in your campaign and that is an effective talk to get their attention. many >> things that you just said, i work with a lot of youth organizations who are getting involved in mobilizing young elections -- young voters in elections, a lot of disinformation is not new. young voters have a relatively short a sense -- attention span and they are on line and they can detect bs. where is the disconnect. i can google millennials and find this information. campaign strategists are less likely to buy into this.
>> age is a real factor. if you take a candidate who is 45 or 50 years old and ask them to think about what their kids do every day -- when you see your kids, are they on their ipod, iphone, are they constantly in communication with their friends? understand their life a little better and you'll do a better job of communicating. you are right, there is a lot of information about millenniums, but -- i will chastise myself and others. if you think of all the consultants are and the pollsters are -- these are not
positive terms -- we are not 22. we did not grow up the way you grow up. i shouldn't say that because you are probably -- >> your ramallah mail, right? >> this is how we approach it in the obama campaign which i think was healthy and you need. first of all, there was a team of eight of us who started 20 advise obama back in the summer and fall of 2006 and tried to figure out what made sense. the youngest in the group was 32. most of us were in error 40's and early 50's. we started to hear that there is this the facebook phenomenon going on.
most people thought obama running in 2008 was crazy. i had to figure out what facebook was. few think in the winter of 2006 when a 45-year-old goes on facebook, it is kind of creepy because it was 69-22 year old in large part great it was the young people's site. i did not want to be called an old troll. i went on and saw it grow. this graduate student out of the university of missouri started barack obama-1 million strong. i said i might -- i would sit on my couch and refresh this facebook group every couple of minutes and watch the increase
in size and it was dramatic. that was our first first look at facebook and what it potentially was going to matter for the presidential campaign for barack obama. from there, i reached out to meredith and tobin and others involved in the obama facebook groups to develop direct connection with them. i want to get an understanding of what they were doing and why they're doing it and what was motivating them and why barack obama and white 2008. all of those questions, but from there, one of the first people hired in the campaign was chris hughes who developed facebook sites.
we really let young people develop the programs to communicate with young people. it was not me or others in the campaign in the older category trying to figure this out for it was empower young people who got this and frankly were part of it and did it to figure out how to do that. it was letting go a little bit. managers tend not to be very -- tend not to be very good at that. we did not want middle aged people trying to figure at how to connect with young voters. that was pretty rare to a campaign them. >> the 2008 campaign became a model for speaking in franc terms to young voters.
many campaigns have used that as a model reason -- more recently. talk about how you engaged young voters. you got 15% of the vote. this is not just a progressive thing. what did you do during the campaign? >> before the campaign, i was working at the massachusetts republican party. they actually had a republican party there. [laughter] scott brown was a state senator when i was a political director of the state party. he was only one of the five republican state senators in the legislature. we had in terms that would log onto facebook. it started off as a harvard communication and a branch off to other schools in that area.
we had in turn to were part of facebook but i was in college at the time. they got excited. they went through the facebook profiles and looked for political parties connected to profiles and brought them into the republican headquarters to volunteer. when it went public to just anyone, i wrote a memo to the state legislators, the republican state legislators in the state house and encouraged to them to get on facebook and told them how to use it. it was not just to update their status but to update with personal information. the only republican incumbent in the legislature to do that was scott brown at the time. his staff side opportunity there to reach out and touch people beyond his state district. we have 40 district in massachusetts so that means
scott brown had a 1/40 of the state to communicate with. nssomebody said this was so col that a state senator just wished me a happy birthday. people did not look at someone as justice center but as a republican on beacon hill. he worked -- he reached out to many counties nt network so that if he did decide to run for a bigger office, there was a group of activists. where people knew the name of scott brown. they were personally connected to him. when he called me up last summer -- last summer before running for senate, scott already have a
wealth of contacts and connections in facebook. because he started so early, there were many young people in the network. people above the age of 55 are growing on facebook, but there was a republican member that was active on facebook, a real group of supporters. i loved it because i saw the fruit of that memo from years before when i took the reins of the campaign. it was not like a campaign that started. there were already a wealth of resources on facebook and that was a powerful way for the campaign to begin to build up activists and volunteers around the state. >> that was a good example of
using those tactics and strategies to engage young voters in 2009. we had a record turnout in 2008 and remember sitting at my desk after the election and getting abroad of phone calls from young people. -- getting eight barrages of phone calls from young people. -- getting barrage of phone calls from young people. what did you think happened in the campaign in 2008 and what will be different in 2010? we have not begun to talk about strategies and issues that the voters are voting on. what is different now? >> young voters need to make sure that 2008 was not their only deal. the 2008 general election is not
just one piece of -- is one piece of your involvement. if you do not vote in the 2009 special and the 2010 midterms or your school board elections or your county elections, your state legislative elections, all of these elections. this is not about showing up by presidential year, this is about showing up all the time. if you do not show all the time, you have not shown up. one presidential is not enough and that is an empowering message and that is to take it back and say it is not just that candidates are not speaking to us. it is just that we are not showing the political power we have and we had in 2008. if we do not show them that we have that same political power we had in 2008, they will not speak to us. they will ignore us just like they have in the past. they will never learned the lesson. it goes both ways. candidates have to reach out and work with few and hear from you
and communicate with you. young voters have such power. in 2008, voters under the age of 30 voted at a higher rate than voters 65, which was unprecedented in this country. that is power. candidates have to understand but young voters have to act on it. if you do not show you have the power like you did in 2008, you will not be given the kind of attention from candidates that you deserve. it goes both ways and you have to understand that. you can elect better mayors and governors and better state senators and everything else if you turn and vote in every election and not just a presidential election.
. being a candidate like barack obama is not like being president obama. it is not as exciting. there is a lot of money that goes with serving as president especially in days like this when it is very trying. young voters like every voter this fall will benefit by looking at the facts on their own and getting away from some of the rhetoric and of mud that will get thrown. look at with democrats in the house, the senate, and the white house have done verses what republicans have done or post or stood in the way of. if you do that, you will hopefully get back to the enthusiasm that young voters had in 2008. -- this democratic party and
white house is doing what it said it was going to do. it is not as pretty. >> you are talking about the issues that voters are voting on. they are voting on the economy. you look back and it looks like voters are of voting on health care, gay rights, the war. you have to look at the war in a careful way. did barack obama want to send more troops to afghanistan, now? did he have to? he had to for national-security reasons. he is bringing the troops of from iraq. >> this is a message we will hear from democrats. if we engage voters on this issue than voters will respond accordingly. if you look at the conservative side -- there was an article that said that democrats were
investing $50 million in turning out young voters and minority voters. i will ask you in a moment if that is an opera the article said we do not see a comparable effort on the right. why is that? >> b. reich wants to motivate the right voters. they want --the right wants to motivate the right voters. they look at voting history. if you don't show up in previous elections, it is tough to have a voice or get attention in the future elections. campaigns have to be very analytical and segment of voters
based on voting history. that is what we do to identify our voters. our model is very strong. focusing on the right particular boat is how we get them to turn out. >> where does that leave the young voters? >> first-time voters get -- get context because it is an unknown territory. we measure the response. >> what the democrats are doing is targeting those voters, what is your response to that? >> i would say it is not enough. much of what you heard today was about tactics and strategies. you heard something about message. message and messengers is very critical. it matters to young people who
they hear from and it matters whether the message is sex and an important to them. -- is such cent and important to them. -- is succinct and important to them. if they stay on, they are hurting their own impression they have given to this country about this generation. if there is truth and accuracy that this is a generation of activists than nonvoting in 2009 or not voting in local races and not putting in the 2010 midterms shoots a hole in that. we were chastised by people with lengthy experience in the iowa caucuses. everybody comes to iowa and tries to turn out young voters
and no one has ever done that well. you cannot do it either. we had a different philosophy. we had a very different candidate. we took young voters seriously. many candidates did not. those younger voters did not lead us down. that was a very empowering moment for both the campaign and for young voters. it really has to be a two-way street. candidates can skew the facts and talk with you, but at young voters to not take this seriously and i have lot of nieces and nephews grow are quite accomplished in college, much more than i was, who graduated who are either unemployed or underemployed. there is a lot of that with this young generation that are first- time graduates under this president. they have to understand that
barack obama holds some responsibility but not all the responsibility. this cannot be a demoralizing factor. there are two parties that run this country and taking responsibility is really critical and i cannot emphasize that enough. >> what do you think will be driving young people to the polls this fall? are we talking about a singular issue or honda's talking about the anti-incumbent sentiment. what will cause young people to come out? >> jobs and the economy was a big issue in massachusetts. they want to be for the american dream. they have been told what they
can achieve. jobs will still be a big issue for them. i also think that we are all about issues. that's why we got involved in politics. that's why we worked on campaigns. that is why we do weird things like knocking on doors in cold temperatures. that is not normal. we are not normal people. when we take ourselves out of this bubble, it is a little bit odd but there are people who vote on flexibility and personality. it is something i call the beer factor. you might want to have a beer with ronald reagan rather than jimmy carter. you would rather have a beer with george bush or senator kerry. that personality factor in the political world is overlooked
because we are motivated by issues. with the scott brown campaign and how we used on-line video is to make a personal connection, is possible for all types of voters. that is something that cannot be overlooked, flexibility is a huge. >> i will ask you the same question. we will take q &a from the audience and a couple of seconds. something we have not talked about tonight and that is an important thing. it is hard to like some of these people if democrats are successful in talking about their record and successful in talking about health care, not just as a record of achievement
but what it means -- young voters are no different than the rest of thh american. american they still don't understand the nuts and bolts. there are young parents to have 22-year-old coming home from college who do not have a job and need to stay on their parents' health care plan. they were not able to before. if we are thorough in discussing what was passed in the health-care plan, we will do very well with people. people will start to embrace it instead of being scared of it and republicans will have to live with that record. i think that is very important i totally agree that jobs and the economy will be the number-one issue. health care will be the number 2 issue. it will come down to whether democrats are successful in making it a positive instead of
a negative. most candidates sadly are still running away from it instead of a bracing it because they are idiots. [laughter] when you talk about health care in the simplest of terms and talk about its merits, that is a huge win for people and republicans will demonize it like they have for the past year and half. if we allow them as the democrat party to do that, we will lose on that issue. i think that will be a travesty when it is such an accomplishment that we should be so proud of. >> let's start with the audience. you can state clearly into the microphone. >> i am from seattle, washington one of the first things you were talking about is that we need to engage these voters. you brought in young people to
run that part of the campaign. what about other democrat? -- demographics? >> we had someone well experienced in organizing younger voters. i don't have much of a memory. we had gay people organizing gay people, black people organizing black people and latino people organizing latino people. it was people of color who were riding and running programs. it was people of all races and gender and gender identities. they were organizing everyone.
americans writing and directing these programs. it was african american women helping us to know÷7>ou to talk to african-american women. we had the benefits of resources. we were able to really do it right. there are many campaigns that have not done a good job that throw in a particular person that might be a good manager or good supervisor to put these programs together, but they are not experienced and we were able to get the best and most experienced people to do each segment. >> thank you. >> this gentleman? >> both barack obama and scott
brown or candidates that were not expected to win in the beginning and they rose in popularity. will that come into play with connecting to youth and did you feel like you're playing catch- up? >> question, -- a good question, we were such underdogs in the beginning that after christmas we broke out with the jfk ad and we were inundated with people flooding our offices. it was such a surge that became a project to figure out how to manage all these people. we did not want people standing around doing nothing while they were giving you their time. the helpful lesson was that much
-- many of the young people that came in are no longer content consumers. the old model is to put all the volunteers on the phone and seal envelops. es. they would watch the nightly news and bad as it. many young people, we look at them as content creators because they grew up in the age of knowing photoshop and illustrator and blogging platforms. meeting people in a lobby at 1:00 a.m. and asking them what they do turn out to be a very valuable thing for us.
their layouts were better than the ones i did we have design work from young people who were volunteering on the campaign. someone came in from california and helped us make the blackberry-and dried app that we used. andpmpeople can't provide immene value for the campaign and give you more time. -- young people can provide immense value for the campaign and give you more time than our situation was very different. there was no conceivable way for barack obama to win the presidency if we did not expand the electorate. it was dramatically expanding the electra with african americans and young voters. those were two very principle to eggs. there was no conceivable way we
could win in the actual call caucasus if we did not turn out record numbers of young voters. we just could not do it. it was a good thing in that we were forced to do it, but we also want to do it. we want to challenge3. . there is nothing that makes barack obama happier than inspiring young people to get involved in public life and taking responsibility for things. it was in power in for him. we had to do. it. we could not have one. >> this gentleman? >> i am here from maryland. we have been over the fact that the important issues will be jobs and the economy like the important issues of health care.
they tend to have more liberal values than other parts of the population. what really is the difference between getting in touch with millennials and other people who have liberal values? >> from my standpoint, i don't assume that all millennials are progressive. i would like them to be. if anything, they are skeptical liberals. they will question the purity of liberalism and they will really question candidates'' commitment to liberalism. i come from south dakota where we have a young congresswoman
though, for any young person, she would be a great role model as a democrat. except, she votes like a republican. for young people who want to be progressive, it is and demoralizing. she does not make it easy. she has all the potential in the world to be that great young leader. for a progressive budget does not fulfill it. you cannot bs millennial voters and cannot assume that everyone will be a progressive. for those progressive young voters, candidates who have shied away for years for issues like gay rights and abortion need to communicate their positions. and honest and direct way.
because a lot of money all boaters care about those issues. millennial voters, more than most, care about foreign policy. you are growing up in a world that is so different. i never left south dakota other than a couple of little vacations. everyone of my nieces and nephews and every young person i now travels abroad extensively and i cannot get enough of it. i went to brazil earlier this year for the first international trip of my lifetime. most people in this room have probably traveled outside this country many times. i cannot wait for the next trip. you embrace foreign policy where as most voters don't. &éawhill we both agree that jobs and the economy will be number
one, i think there'll be overriding issues and jobs will probably be the biggest there are many other issues that voters care about, you are absolutely right. you cannot assume that every millennial will be a supporter of gay rights or abortion rights or interested in foreign policy or be progressive. >> i would add to that and say that when you're talking to the rest of progress of mullen males -- millennial, when you talk about those issues like the economy and health care, you make sure you explain the pieces of that issue that impacted them. when you talk about education and you talk about investments and national service. your making sure that even though you may be talking about
the same issues led everyone cares about, and young people traditionally are not focused on this in the same way. while we take a question from up front -- why don't we take a question from up front? >> i am from virginia. in 2008, va. went a blue for the first time in 30 something years. after that, we went purple. we voted for obama but now people are voting more republicans. what can candidates learn from the obama campaign besides just reaching out to young voters? what else different than they do? >> i tend not to talk in the
red, blue, and purple because i do not think that is our regular people do things. -- view things. virginia has a recent history of putting democrat for governor and has selected several democratic senators are the last couple of decades. the fact that it was the first time in 40 or 50 years that they voted for a democratic president was an aberration. to the pundits suggest that virginia completely changed by voting for a republican governor, i don't look at states that way. i think each of these states will be unique as we move toward. states are changing.
you look at the changing demographics and nevada and new mexico and so many of the states. you cannot just look at the past to predict the future. you have to look at who the candidates are, both candidates. this will tell you whether a state is viable. you cannot just look at the past. barack obama fulfill a certain profile at that given moment for virginia. we were the first presidential campaign on tte democrat side that had the resources to outspend republicans in different states. that really mattered. sadly, it mattered. typically, we are behind the funding. we had the opportunity. we were only going to win the states if we dramaaically expanded the electorate. we would not have one. there are 10 staaes that you can
look at. if i had a memory i would rattle them off. virginia, north carolina, florida, colorado, indiana that collectively at up to 100 electoral votes. if we did not -- if we had not expend of the electorate especially with young voters, we would not have won ttose states. you can look at it clearly. the voter registration in each of those states and how much money we put into it and how much attention we put into it was so critical. in virginia, which dramatically expend of the electorate with new voters. if we would not have worked to bring in those new voters to get them registered and inspire them and turn them out, all three, we would not have one virginia or the nine other states adding up to 100 electoral votes. we won with 365. if we would not have done that
in those 10 states, we would have come up with 265 and you need to hundred 70 to win the presidency. i don't think you can look at 2008 in virginia and 2009 in virginia and compare apples to 9$(lc@&c+ i think they are two different races and two different strategies to win. ours was very different than the governor's race. >> massachusetts 2009 was not a normal race by any means. we had it resources. we had a lot of resources that came in. this changed our voter model dramatically from what our original plan was part o. we did not run a republican-
branded campaign, necessarily. it was more about the individuals themselves and that is the message. if you can afford to get that message out, you can do some big things. >> we have time for maybe two more questions. the gentleman all the way in the back. >> thank you for coming. we talked about millennial and how they grow and make tech- savvy generation. what long-term influence well but have run campaigns through 2015? will it be web based orwell's we still be knocking on doors? what will change with this generation? >> you will still be knocking on doors, unfortunately in 2050
because it is personal contact which is so valuable. when you take the effort to walk up the driveway and knock on a door, there is a message that you are passionate about the issue. people don't normally do this and that is why it is affected. tc go more mobile as we have seen from the howard dean campaign to the obama campaign. there will be more cross communication about activists and self organizing. >> he is absolutely right. howard dean did the best job in 2004 of capturing the excitement and intensity and the possibility of the internet. barack obama did the best job of making sure it was on line as well as offline. we learned a lot from howard
dean's loss in iowa from -- in 2004. his ground game, that person to person of voter appeal was not there. they have a lot of people signed up to support howard dean in iowa on the internet, but their numbers on the ground did not match or come close. they did not have the kind of ground can necessary to get people from the committed. john kerry did. the personal connection -- we can never predict the future, but we are a pretty intense information age. that personal attention is still so critical to take what you have on line and make sure you have it offline, too. >> more question. the woman and a purple shirt.
-- the woman in the purple shirt. >> my question is for mr. willington. you talked about candidate personality and how that can affect voter for turnout. your candidate had a photo shoot in cosmopolitan magazine that came about how would you say that affected voter turnout? did you enhance that factor for within voters? -- for women voters? how do they spend that to make that a positive factor for turn out? >> this was news that came out when he ran in 2004.
we used his daughters and we have a video that was a bloopers of video. we talked with them about their father. they volunteered to do this with us. it was very natural and material to show how he was as a father but also as a family person because we could not use his wife because she was a reporter. it showed how he was a family guy without his wife. you saw his daughter is making
mistakes and you saw how he reacted to their mistakes. you saw how he was a genuine person. that is how we used some of his family. the cosmopolitan peace was a piece that we ignore or brushed off. it did not hurt us to do that. >> thank you all so much. i want to thank steve and robert and thank you all for being here. i am looking forward to the 2010 elections. the message we got is that it is a two-way street. this is about our young voters being engaged in the campaign is doing their part to engage in them. thank you all very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> our public affairs content is available on television, radio,
and online and you can connect with us on twitter, facebook, aad youtube and some of our our scheduled a large e-mails that c-span.org. "washington journal" is next. later this morning, secretary of the treasury tim geithner will be on capitol hill to testify about the troubled assets relate program known as tarp. a recent report shows that tarp has been repaid over $194 million from financial institutions. live coverage will be at 10:00 eastern. the u.s. house is in at 11:00 eastern. like cows coverage on c-span. -- live coverage at 12:30. we will get an update on what is ahead on capitol hill. after that, political news commentator tuckera